Not the Vacation I Planned
What are your priorities and how does your life reflect them? Ask God to speak to you about these things.
Read JONAH 2:1-10
 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.  He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.  You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.  I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’  The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.  To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.  “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.  “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”  And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is Jonah's attitude in prayer and the Lord's response?
My organization offers an annual retreat for Christians working in tough neighborhoods. It is in a comfortable, rural venue with plenty of good food. Poor Jonah has a three-day retreat in a wet, smelly fish’s stomach. But even there he and God draw closer together. He recognizes the start of God’s rescue (2); his power to save (9); and his attention to Jonah (7). After escaping death Jonah understands you have to let go of the things you put before God in order to receive his grace and acceptance (9). Jesus gave us the perfect example of obedience to his Father (see Phil. 2:6-11) and God rescued him from the grave.
Admitting we have gone wrong is good, but it is not enough. We need to get out of the fish and get back to God’s work, being obedient even if it means sacrificing something else. If there are idols of any kind we cling to, we must let them go. If there are fears that paralyze us and keep us from obeying God, we must trust in his mercy and go forward. Get out of the fish!
If someone you know is in a dark place, pray and encourage them to hope in our merciful God.
Merciful God, take away all the fears and hindrances that keep me from obeying You willingly each day.
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